A National Migraine Centre factsheet
The National Migraine Centre is recognised as a leading UK headache clinic. But what exactly is a headache clinic and what should you expect from an appointment?
NHS headache clinics are found across the UK, with neurologists and specialist headache doctors and nurses able to see patients who have been referred to them via a GP. Often, these clinics will be based within NHS hospitals, typically in the neurology or neurosciences department. You may also find standalone clinics within the community, which may be headed by GPs with a special interest in headache.
A headache clinic will generally offer a range of care and treatments. A consultation with a headache specialist can offer diagnoses, treatment options and self-management tips; this can often be enough to result in significant improvements for those with headache, particularly if the patient is positively engaged in the process, for instance by keeping a headache diary.
Headache clinic doctors can work to find the right medication for you and can consider a wider range of treatment options than are available via your GP.
Anti-CGRP medications, for example, can sometimes be accessed via headache clinics, for those meeting eligibility criteria.
Procedure clinics, offering treatments such as Botox injections for chronic migraine or nerve blocks for headache, may also be available. You may also be able to access support groups, which can help with self-management of headache.
Headache clinics will generally focus primarily on migraine, although staff will be skilled in diagnosing and treating other headache types too, such as cluster headache.
The National Migraine Centre was set up as a specialist headache clinic and charity over 40 years ago by leading NHS headache doctors who were concerned about how variable the quality of headache care could be within the NHS and the hurdles to receiving specialist treatment.
In that time, new treatments have become available but many of the fundamental issues remain. Across the UK, as many as one in seven are thought to be affected by migraine, but most will never get to see a headache specialist. Care is often only available via GPs, and few have a special interest in the management of headache.
Access to the NHS headache clinics is also very difficult, an issue that the National Migraine Centre has campaigned to address over decades. The UK has far too few headache specialists for the number of people in need, and too few headache clinics also.
Many of the people who come to see us at the National Migraine Centre have not been able to get referrals to an NHS centre. For treatments such as Botox or anti-CGRPs, you will usually need to have more than 15 days with headache each month before you will be considered for NHS treatment, and even then will also need to try and fail, under supervision, at least three different medications from three different classes of drugs.
For those who are eligible, waiting lists can be months or even years.
The National Migraine is a leading UK headache clinic providing access to trusted, expert headache specialists – consultant neurologists, world class headache doctors and specialists nurses who are leading clinicians working within the NHS, but who also work with the National Migraine Centre to make headache care more readily available to those in need.
For most of our first four decades, we were a London headache clinic, seeing migraine and headache patients mostly from London and the south-east of England. Today, we are the UK’s national migraine clinic, offering headache clinic consultations right across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Alongside remote video consultations, the headache specialists can also enable access to the latest treatments for migraine, such as anti-CGRPs, and we run procedure clinics for Botox and nerve block too.
There are no long waiting lists and appointments can be booked quickly and simply via the website. Unlike NHS clinics, you don’t need a referral from your GP – you can go ahead and book right away, whenever is convenient.
While most NHS clinics have limited opening times, our services are available throughout the week – and video consultations with top headache specialists from your own home make an appointment much more convenient too.
The National Migraine Centre is a registered charity and the headache clinic we run is a not-for-profit service.
If you are troubled by headache, leading headache experts are here to help you now. Beat the misery of migraine and get back to living: join more than 60,000 people we have helped and book an appointment at the National Migraine Centre headache clinic today.
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